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About SimplyMarvie

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    All Over
  • Interests
    While cruising: Food, photography, non-cruiseline excursions, sitting in a lounge chair and reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    I approach cruiselines like pokemon -- gotta try 'em all.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean and the Med. One day I'm gonna get to Pitcarin Island, though...
  1. SimplyMarvie

    Help! No passport, no birth certificate!

    I hate to tell you this, but even your Representative can't force the State Department to issue a passport without proof of citizenship. They'll send a strongly worded letter, and someone in authority at the Passport Agency will have a look at the case, but without a confirmed proof of citizenship (notary public license is unlikely to count as they're issued by states or counties, so even if the state or county asked her to establish she was a citizen, that isn't a federal government office.) they're not going to be able to do a whole lot. She really needs to focus on proving that she's a US Citizen.
  2. I figure that since RCCL makes me pay an adult fare for my 13 year old that he's adult enough to be in the cabin alone. We're doing an outside for us, and an inside across the hall for the kids (7, 11 and 13) with the understanding that the 7 year old will almost certainly end up in our room because he's afraid of the dark.
  3. SimplyMarvie

    Help! No passport, no birth certificate!

    A Consular Report of Birth Abroad is, for all intents and purposes, the US Birth Certificate -- they're issued to children born overseas to US Citizen Parents who meet the requirements to pass their citizenship on to their kids as soon as the kid is born. It's used as proof of citizenship, just like a US Birth Certificate would be. The State Department's website at travel.state.gov has more information about them, if you're ever curious. 🙂
  4. SimplyMarvie

    Reading material

    It's a novel called "Gospel" by Wilton Barnhardt -- it's a travelogue and a mystery surrounding the search for an early Gospel by a Catholic priest, a Rabbi, and a grad student with perniciously low self esteem. Definitely not for everyone, but I love how it talks about travel and history and religion without being evangelical or dogmatic (about any of the religions involved).
  5. Does anyone have experience with "global" travel SIM cards? (oneSim, ChatSim, GlobalSim, Mobel.com, etc.) for cruising? I'm thinking about getting one anyway, mainly for vacations and regional travel since we live overseas and because the country we live in isn't exactly geopolitical BFFs with most of it's neighbors, we get pretty much no international roaming with our phone plan. I'm tired of having to fuss about with getting a new SIM in every country we visit for a weekend trip and then carry around a veritable wallet of SIM Cards. But we also have two cruises coming up this year, and I'm wondering if any of these options would work for port stops on a cruise as well?
  6. SimplyMarvie

    Reading material

    Oh, do I ever feel you on bringing the book you'd already started. One of my first ever trips overseas, I ended up dragging a 900+ page paperback through the jungle of Mexico because I was 75 pages from the end and couldn't bear to leave the book at home and not to find out what happened. (It's still my absolute favorite book of all time, despite feeling like it was a boat anchor the whole trip...)
  7. SimplyMarvie

    iPad app for offline writing

    Oooh, you should check out Scrivener! It's a paid app, but it's the best writing platform out there, especially for organizing longer things that come in parts -- it'd be great for writing a day-by-day review or notes. I get a bit zealot-y about this app, because it changed my writing life, but it's fantastic and well worth the cost. 🙂
  8. SimplyMarvie

    Help! No passport, no birth certificate!

    If she really wants a passport, she should talk to her city, county or state vital records office and find out why she can't get a birth certificate and what she can do -- and then do whatever that is. If it's literally impossible, ask what other documents she might offer. Get their answer in writing. Then, she should call her local passport AGENCY -- this is the State Department facility closest to you, not your local library, or wherever, that can just take in passport applications -- and make an appointment to apply/speak to someone there. She should bring the passport denial letter which she would have received in the mail which explains why her original application wasn't approved, the letter from the vital records office, and every single slip of paper she has that proves she is who she says she is and is an American Citizen. (Birth records, parents birth/passport records, immunization records, school records, yearbooks, baptism/confirmation/bat mitzvah/religious records, etc.) This is difficult, and they may need to request additional information, but she may be able to prove by preponderance of the evidence that she's entitled to passport services.
  9. SimplyMarvie

    Reading material

    I have a kindle, which I take to places where it's hard to charge devices (camping, backpacking, etc.) because that thing stays charged FOREVER and has a small enough battery that my solar charger can charge it (if I don't read all day... *weeps*). For cruising, I bring my iPad with the Kindle app and the Scribd app, which means I have instant access to a whole library of books over wifi (ship, phone or hotspot in port). When I'm not exploring in port or eating, I spend most of the cruise in a deck chair with a blanket and a book, and not having to decide before-hand what I'm going to read is awesome.
  10. SimplyMarvie

    Best Hotel Near FLL to Sleep Off the Jetlag?

    I think by best I mean one with comfy beds and access to food 24 hours a day (or at least, at off-hours) and some out-door space. There are so many hotels in the area that I figure finding one that is a decent hotel isn't too hard... but finding somewhere that is walking distance to food in the middle of the night (which is going to feel like lunch-time to use due to the time change) and where we could take a walk outside to get sun on our eyeballs would be harder. Budget-wise, it'll be late November and we'd like to stay around $200-250 a night or below, if possible?
  11. SimplyMarvie

    How many days until your next cruise??? Part 2

    305, unless I book something this summer for me and the kids.
  12. We're not cruising for a while yet, but will be a family of five coming into Florida from overseas and always get completely hammered by jetlag when we fly. This time, we're gonna be smart and come in a couple of days ahead of time so as not to spend our first two days on the boat wandering around like zombies, not sure whether we're awake or asleep. I'm wondering what the best option for a hotel to crash at during that time? Ideally, something with connecting rooms, super-comfy beds and either 24-hour room service or all-night crappy American fast food within walking distance. A pool probably goes without saying in Florida, but somewhere we can walk around a bit (park? beach? trails?) since exercise and sunlight really help with time adjustments would be ideal.
  13. We do it, but we're in International schools where it's kind of the norm -- the school doesn't close to accommodate everyone's holidays, people have guests in from out of town, etc. Plus, our school is only K-8 and there's so many different calendars that it's really hard for a family here to find a single long weekend (never mind a whole week) when all the kids are out at the same time. Our last school had mid-term breaks in October and February, which were perfect so we seldom had to pull the kids out. This school doesn't, so I feel like we're pulling them out more. 😞
  14. Our state of legal residence is MN, so that's what I put in insuremytrip.com. Our health insurance is through a company based in the US, but is good worldwide. Basically, as long as I can legally travel there on my US passport, I'm covered (so no to North Korea. I am okay in Cuba, however, so that's nice...)
  15. This is my first proper grown-up vacation where I wasn't booking last-moment at a deep discount, and I'm trying to sort out whether we need travel insurance in addition to our existing insurance. The thing that most people seem to be concerned about here is needing to see a doctor in a foreign country, or a medical emergency. We're expats, so we already have expat health insurance that covers us everywhere in the world, with a very few exceptions (and since we're not cruising to North Korea, I'm not too worried). It doesn't include Medical Evacuation coverage, but I think we've got enough assets and credit to cover that in a worst-case scenario -- and I work with medical evacs, so I have a very good grasp of the costs and complications. Our deposit is 100% refundable until September and *knock wood* our jobs are both pretty good about not suddenly going back on leave. I don't think that everything we'd pack would be worth $1000, much less per-person if it was lost or delayed. I don't know... I was reading through the website and the costs are reasonable, I'm just looking at the coverage (and the rider for like, $5000 worth of jewelry and things) and thinking jeeze-louise... do we actually NEED all of this? Maybe just medical evacuation coverage would be more reasonable..?